"This saying is hard; who can accept it?" The words of Jesus' disciples in today's Godpel (the conclusion of the Bread of Life Discourse, from the 6th chapter of John's gospel) must sound familiar. At some point in our lives, you and I have said it about some article of our faith. Christianity makes firm demands on our ethical behavior and gives no easy answers for suffering. Many disciples were confused and dismayed by Jesus 'words in this famous long speech by Jesus on the Eucharist. Not all of them, however, had the same reaction.
When the disciples question Jesus' teaching, he confirms its truth. "The words I have spoken to you are spirit and life." For some, Jesus' reassurance was not enough. These disciples do not question Jesus further or wrestle with their lack of understanding. The mighty deed Jesus has done fade to the background. "Many of his disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied him." For them, their doubt proves too much.
Jesus turns to the Twelve, knowing that confusion lives in their hearts as well. Peter answers. "Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God." Notice this is not a confession of perfect understanding. It is a confession of faith in Jesus. The precise words may still confuse them, but they believe the One who said them.
In our own lives, we face doubt, confusion, and disillusionment in our Christian faith. The same choice available to the disciples is available to us. Do you have faith in Jesus, even when you lack perfect understanding? Will you stay or will you go? What do you do with your doubt?
Some news to share....
Last weekend at Mass, we prayed for the repose of the soul of Fr. John Ullrich, OFM. Fr. John assisted me with the Mass schedule some 7 years ago before he left to take a position with the Franciscans in Chicago. His funeral was held yesterday in St. Petersburg, FL.
If you wish to send sympathy cards they can be sent to this address:
St. Anthony Friary
357 2nd Street North
St. Petersburg, FL 33701-2931
If you have been following along, we are beginning the last week, week 31 of our video series, Elements of the Catholic Mass. I would invite you to watch Episode 31 this week titled, The Dismissal and reflect on how this might help you in your faith. Here is the link to the episodes page.
At our Parish Picnic on Sunday, September 19, I have invited Fr. Vince Cushing, OFM to attend. For those who are not aware, Fr. Vince had been helping with the Mass schedule and made many Adult Religious Formation presentations at our parish for over 30 years! Since he is not able to minster at Seton due to mobility issues and needing assistance, I want to take an opportunity for us as a community to say "Thank You". I would also like to present him with a financial gift from the Parish that will be given to his Franciscan community, since he cannot personally accept it. If you wish to make a donation, you may send us a check made to Seton Parish and put Fr. Vince on the memo line or you can go to this link on Give-Central and contribute.
Our Music Ministry is singing the National Anthem at the Bowie Baysox game Saturday, September 4 at 6:35pm. Stay for fireworks after the game! Tickets are $5 and are on sale now. Contact Brendan at 410-721-5770 x213, or Brendan.Walls@seaseton.org
Fr. Paul will provide training to current and new Communion Service Leaders on Monday, August 30th at 9:30a.m. in the Church. The Rite has been updated so if you just want a refresher or would like to be newly trained to lead Liturgy of the Word with Holy Communion Services, please meet Fr. Paul in the Church after the 9:00a.m. Mass on August 30th. Contact Jennifer at Jennifer.Lukas@seaseton.org if you would like more information. If you are a new volunteer, please contact Heather Algiere at Heather.Algiere@seaseton.org to complete Child and Youth Protection screening.
Finally, I wrote last week to alert you that on Sunday, August 22nd, the 9:30a.m. Mass will not be live-streamed. Mitzy Deras, our social media staff member, will be on vacation. As an alternative, you can view Sunday Mass at this website by clicking here.
THE PARISH PICNIC IS RETURNING!
SAVE THE DATE!!
We need volunteers!
Our Parish Picnic returns on Sunday, September 19th from 12:30-4:00p.m.
Please email the Picnic Team at firstname.lastname@example.org if you can help or have questions.
Also, each volunteer gets a free ticket to the picnic!
Don't forget to use hand sanitizers in the Narthex and when you enter the church at the Food Pantry entrance.
As usual, we will continue to live-stream Mass (Mon-Thurs at 9:00a.m. and Sunday at 9:30a.m.) on the parish Facebook (link) and uploaded on YouTube (link), and our parish website (link). If you do not have Facebook but wish to watch our livestream, click here for instructions.
God Bless you all!